In the Faith

Gracious God, my Father, thank you that my grandchildren are being raised "in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 1:13).



(a prayer of G. K. Chesterton; photo via

The Martha Malady

Father, thank you for revealing to me the danger of busyness in my life. I don’t want to be faithless, foolish, or feckless. Please show me the extent of my own tendencies to bow to the idol of busyness. Convince and convict me of all ungodliness. I repent; help me to bear fruit in keeping with repentance (Luke 3:8).

Help me to truly and wholeheartedly believe in you, and not in myself, my abilities, or my activity. Help me to find significance in you and in my obedience to you, not in the false importance of busyness. Help me to overcome the laziness of letting other people set my schedule for me, and not lazily abdicate the essential work of deciding and directing, establishing values and setting goals.

Finally, Lord, teach me the bane of busyness in my life, and the hurt that hurry does to me, and reward my earliest efforts at overcoming this idol with early rewards, that I might sit at your feet and learn to enjoy the “better things” that come only—and generously—from you, in Jesus’ name, amen.

(the prayer that closes chapter fifteen, "The Martha Malady," in my book, American Idols)

Free Me From Self

My Lord and my God,
remove far from me
whatever keeps me
from You.

My Lord and my God,
confer upon me
whatever enables me
to reach You.

My Lord and my God,
free me from self
and make me
wholly Yours.

(a prayer of Nicholas of Flue)

Silently Now

Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready, my God, Thy will to see.
Open my eyes, illumine me,
Spirit divine!

(from a hymn by Clara H. Scott; photo illustration by benhoefer via

Saturday Psalm #128

Lord, I am so blessed
because I revere you,
because I have (however falteringly) walked in your ways.

You have blessed my labors,
you have granted prosperity
by your kindness and grace.

You have blessed me with a wife
who is so lovely,
and loving.

You have given me children
who are like olive shoots,
always producing good things,
and grandchildren who are unfailing joys to my heart.

Thus have I been blessed
by my relationship with you.

Keep it up, Lord.
Bless me with your holy presence
all the days of my life.

May I see the prosperity of Jerusalem,
signs of your favor on my nation, community, and church,
and may the lovely Robin and I live to see you pour out
still more blessing on us and ours.
Let your peace rest
on all your people,

(based on Psalm 128; photo via

If Still the Holy Place

O God, if still the holy place
Is found of those in prayer,
By all the promises of grace
I claim an entrance there.

Give me a self-denying soul,
Enlarged and unconfined;
Abide within me, and control
The wanderings of the mind.

Give me the strength of faith that dares
To die to self each day,
That bravely takes the cross, nor cares
To find an easier way.

Help me to make more sacrifice,
To walk where Christ would lead,
That in my life He may arise
To hallow every deed.


(a prayer of General Albert Orsborn; photo by pexels via


(from the Message paraphrase; created on YouVersion app) 

Let My First

Eternal Father of my soul,
let my first thought today be of Thee,
let my first impulse be to worship Thee,
let my first speech be Thy name,
let my first action be to kneel before Thee
in prayer.

For Thy perfect wisdom
and perfect goodness:
For the love wherewith Thou lovest mankind:
For the love wherewith Thou lovest me:
For the great and mysterious opportunity
of my life:
For the indwelling of Thy Spirit in my heart:
For the sevenfold gifts of Thy Spirit:
I praise and worship Thee, O Lord.

Yet let me not, when this morning prayer is said, think my worship ended and spend the day in forgetfulness of Thee. Rather from these moments of quietness let light go forth, and joy, and power, that will remain with me through all the hours of the day;
Keeping me chaste in thought:
Keeping me temperate and truthful in speech:
Keeping me faithful and diligent in my work:
Keeping me humble in my estimation of myself:
Keeping me honourable and generous in my dealings with others:
Keeping me loyal to every hallowed memory of the past:
Keeping me mindful of my eternal destiny as a child of Thine.

O God, who hast been the Refuge of my fathers through many generations, be my Refuge to-day in every time and circumstance of need. Be my Guide through all that is dark and doubtful. Be my Guard against all that threatens my spirit's welfare. Be my Strength in time of testing. Gladden my heart with Thy peace; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

(a prayer of John Baillie in A Diary of Private Prayer; photo via

That We May Be Children of Light

Our loving Father, from Thy hand have come all the days of the past. To Thee we look for whatever good the future holds. We are not satisfied with the world as we have found it. It is too little the kingdom of God as yet. Grant us the privilege of a part in its regeneration. We are looking for a new earth in which dwells righteousness. It is our prayer that we may be children of light, the kind of people whose coming and ministry the world is waiting. Amen.

(from the Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers Project, "Prayers" section)

Saturday Psalm #127

LORD, unless you build the house,
its builders labor in vain.
Unless you keep us safe,
locks and alarms are worthless.

It is useless to worry,
to stress
and obsess
for you grant sleep to those you love.

Thank you for the goodly and godly heritage
you have given me,
the son and daughter who make me so proud,
the daughter-in-law and son-in-law who bless me and mine,
and the grandchildren who bring me such joy.

They are like arrows
in the hands of a warrior,
they are a testimony to your kindness
and to the truth of your precepts and principles.

I am a blessed man,
blessed by home,
blessed in where I live,
blessed with a family to love
and be loved by.
I will not be put to shame,
no matter what my Enemy may say or do,
for you have been my teacher and guide,
my leader and defender.

(based on Psalm 127; photo via

Sparrow Prayer

Abba, you are watchful and mindful when a sparrow falls;
catch and cushion your children...
let your everlasting arms shield and strengthen and support us all,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo via


Forgive me, Lord Jesus, for doing the things that make me feel uncomfortable and guilty when I pray.

I say that I believe in you, yet I doubt your promises.

I say that in God I trust, yet I worry and try to manage my own affairs.

I say that I love you, O Lord, and yet I do not obey you.

I say that you have the answers to all my problems, and yet I am slow to consult you.

Forgive me, Lord, for my lack of faith and the willful pride that ignores the way, the truth, and the life.

Please reach down and change the gears within me that I may go forward with you, amen.

(a prayer of Peter Marshall, slightly revised; photo via

Only Wise God

I give praise to you, my Father, "the only wise God [my] Saviour" (Jude 1:25).

You are all wise,
only wise,
infinitely wise.

You are wise in creating,
wise in sustaining,
wise in inspiring,
wise in guiding,
wise in saving,
wise in correcting.

You are wise in all you think,
all you say,
and all you do.

You are wise,
only wise,
and all wise.

May all glory and majesty, dominion and power, be yours both now and ever, amen.
(photo via 

Saturday Psalm #126

LORD, when you brought me out of captivity,
out of darkness,
out of discouragement and depression,
it seemed unreal at first.

But you have filled my mouth with laughter,
you have made me sing for joy!
Truly it can be said of me,
"The LORD has done great things for him."

You have, you have.
You have done great things for me,
and I am unspeakably grateful!

Continue, O LORD, to restore my joy and energy
like streams in the Negev.

The tears I sowed in prayer
will bring a harvest of joy.

Send the harvest, Lord,
send an abundant harvest to me and mine,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Eager for Your Love

O, Lord my God, teach my heart where and how to seek you, where and how to find you. Lord, if you are not here but absent, where shall I seek you? But you are everywhere, so you must be here, why then do I not seek you? Surely you dwell in light inaccessible – where is it? and how can I have access to light which is inaccessible? Who will lead me and take me into it so that I may see you there? . . . What shall your servant do, eager for your love, cast off far from your face? . . . You are my Lord and my God, and I have never seen you. You have created and re-created me, all the good I have comes from you, and still I do not know you, and I have not yet accomplished that for which I was made.

(a prayer of Anselm)

But Solomon in All His Glory

my body creaks and my hair is awful gray,
but Solomon in all his glory
didn't have the health and comfort I enjoy.

And the one wife I have
(compared to his 700 wives)
is more than I can handle,
but Solomon in all his glory
didn't have the lovely Robin to call his own,
his one,
his only.

And these children and grandchildren of mine--
Solomon in all his glory
could not have been happier or prouder or fuller than me.

And this home is no palace, for sure,
but Solomon in all his glory
didn't have his needs met, his comfort regulated, like this.

And I don't have all the books I'd like to have,
nor the time I'd love to read them,
but Solomon in all his glory
didn't have access to the volumes of truth and beauty I have at my fingertips.

And, sure, I have to carefully watch what I eat for the sake of my health and my weight,
but Solomon in all his glory
didn't have coffee every morning, donuts every so often, and fruit year-round.

And most of all, of course, though I am a fitful follower and a poor servant,
yet Solomon in all his glory
didn't know what it is to be rescued from the domain of darkness,
transferred to the kingdom of God's beloved Son,
in whom I have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

So thank you, Lord,
thank you,
that Solomon in all his glory
was not blessed like this.

Shaper, Stirrer, Revealer

Lord God Almighty, I praise you because you are the one who shaped the mountains, stirs up the winds, and reveals your every thought. You turn the light of dawn into darkness and tread the mountains under your feet.

(based on Amos 4:13)

Epiphany Prayer

you revealed your Son to the nations
by the guidance of a star.
Lead us to your glory in heaven
by the light of faith.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Liturgy of the Hours)

Saturday Psalm #125

I trust in you, LORD;
make me like Mount Zion,
which cannot be shaken
and endures forever.

Like the mountains
around Jerusalem,
encircle me,
both now and forevermore.

Break the influence of the wicked
over me and mine, Lord,
over my life, my wife,
over my family, my community,
my nation and its leaders.

Do good to us, LORD,
to all who are upright in heart.

But those who thrive on gossip
and conflict
and hatred
and bitterness
and selfishness
and condemnation--
keep them far away from me!

Bless your people with peace.

The Trees

Oh, Lord, how we are all for invention and
But I think
it would do us good if we would think about
these brothers and sisters, quietly and deeply.

The trees, the trees, just holding on
to the old, holy ways.

(excerpted from Mary Oliver's poem, "The Trees," found in her book Evidence)


“Lord, let me find my life in You, and not in the shifting sands of this world's favor or gain.”

(a prayer by Charles Haddon Spurgeon)

I Launch My Bark on the Unknown Waters of This Year

O Lord,

Length of days does not profit me except the days are passed in thy presence, in thy service, to thy glory.

Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides, sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour,
that I may not be one moment apart from thee,
but may rely on thy Spirit,
to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith,
and give me a desire
to show forth thy praise,
testify thy love,
advance thy kingdom.

I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with thee, O Father, as my harbour,
thee, O Son, at my helm,
thee O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.

Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,
my lamp burning,
my ear open to thy calls,
my heart full of love,
my soul free.

Give me grace to sanctify me,
thy comforts to cheer,
thy wisdom to watch,
thy right hand to guide,
thy counsel to instruct,
thy law to judge,
thy presence to stabilize.

May thy fear be my awe,
thy triumphs my joy.

(from The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers, edited by Arthur Bennett)